tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN December 28, 2016 3:00pm-4:01pm PST
president-elect trump they're heading down a perilous path. tonight, israel is firing back, delivering a one-two punch, along with trump against if outgoing obama administration. naming names. the u.s. is ready to reveal its punishment against russia for its election meddling. officials say specific individuals will be called out for their connection to the hacking operation. blaming obama. trump posts a tweet accusing the president of putting roadblocks in his way. then signals that the transition is actually running smoothly after all. mr. trump revealing that he spoke to the president just a short time ago. what is the actual state of their relationship? and trump's war. the fight against isis just got more dangerous for u.s. troops on the ground as the incoming commander in chief prepares to take the terrorists head on. we'll look at the challenges ahead for the man who once claimed to have a secret plan to defeat isis. we want to welcome our viewers
here in the united states and around the world. wolf blitzer is off today. i'm jim sciutto. you're in "the situation room." this is cnn breaking news. >> breaking news tonight. president-elect trump putting himself front and center on the issue of jobs. a short while ago he announced that sprint is bringing 5,000 positions back to the u.s. he also said a new wecompany, o web, will be hiring 3,000 people. he did reveal that president obama called him today and they had a nice conversation. that in sharp contrast to a tweet that trump said earlier today, accusing the president of creating roadblocks to his transition. also tonight, secretary of state john kerry is warning that hope for middle east peace is slipping away, with a two-state solution in "serious jeopardy." kerry defending president
obama's policy, declaring that, in fact, no other administration has done more for israel. he took a tough line against israel's settlement activity but denied that the u.s. was behind a u.n. resolution condemning it. the israeli prime minister is accusing kerry of giving a biased speech that blamed israel for the middle east conflict. benjamin netanyahu says he looks forward to working with president-elect trump to try to repeal that controversial u.n. security council resolution. also breaking, the obama administration is ready to punish russia for election related hacking. an announcement could come as soon as tomorrow. some officials say that individuals associated with the hacking operation are expected to be named. tonight, the kremlin is promising to respond to any "hostile steps" by the u.s. the u.s. ambassador to israel is standing by, along with our correspondents and analysts as we bring you full coverage of the day's top stories.
first, correspondent elise labott with more on john kerry's speech and reaction. >> reporter: secretary kerry realizes his ideas, his vision for peace may not have a home now, but after four years of trying unsuccessfully to reach a peace deal between israelis and palestinians, kerry said he couldn't in good conscience walk out the door remaining silent when he sees the hope, the chance for peace slipping away. >> the status quo is leading towards one state and perpetual occupation. >> reporter: in a deeply personal final plea, john kerry issued a strong warning to israel that a two-state solution was in jeopardy, directing his name at prime minister benjamin netanyahu. >> the israeli prime minister publicly supports a two-state solution. but his current coalition is the most right-wing in israeli history with an agenda driven by the most extreme elements. >> reporter: at the same time,
defending u.s. support of israel. >> no american administration has done more for israel's security than barack obama. >> reporter: netanyahu quickly called the speech a biased attack. what is he did was spend most of his speech blaming israel for the lack of peace. >> reporter: kerry's message comes amid a bitter war of words between the u.s. and israel after washington refused to veto a u.n. resolution condemning israeli settlements, allowing it to pass. >> some seem to believe that the u.s. friendship means the u.s. must accept any policy regardless of our own interests, our own positions, our own words, our own principles. >> reporter: israel says it has proof washington secretly orchestrated the vote, and would show it to president-elect donald trump when he takes off in a few weeks. >> we have uncontestable evidence that the united states organized, advanced, and brought this resolution. >> reporter: kerry denied the
claims, and framed the vote as an effort to save israel from a policy that threatened its future as a jewish state. >> we reject the criticism that this vote abandons israel. on the contrary, it is not this resolution that is isolating israel, it is the permanent policy of settlement construction that risks making peace impossible. virtually every country in the world other than israel opposes settlements. >> reporter: in his four years as secretary of state, a deal between israelis and palestinians as escaped kerry. but in a recent interview with cnn, he rejected the idea that he failed. >> i didn't fail. we didn't fail. the united states didn't fail. we put what i think is still the solution on the table. but the parties failed. >> reporter: even before kerry spoke, both president-elect trump and prime minister netanyahu criticized the obama administration. trump tweeting, we cannot
continue to let israel be treated with such disrespect. stay strong, israel. january 20 is fast approaching. netanyahu responded, president trump, thank you for your friendship and clear cut support for israel. and the israeli prime minister warning against further moves at the u.n. israeli officials very concerned about a possible french resolution that could come out of a peace conference next month, or another resolution enshrining kerry's ideas. the white house is saying that it would veto any such resolution. meanwhile, president-elect donald trump is working with congress to defund the u.n. if that vote onsetlements is not overturned. >> elise, thank you very much. joining me now is the israeli ambassador to the united states, ron durmer. thank you for taking the time today. you've obviously been repeatedly extremely critical of the obama administration for abstaining from this vote. but aside from this
disagreement, i want to ask what evidence do you have that the obama administration has been biased against israel, anti-israel? >> up until this point at the united nations, they vetoed a security council resolution against israel. in fact, the only veto they did during their presidency, which we were deeply appreciative of. but this resolution itself is a resolution that effectively will call for boycotts and sanctions against israel that's the language, to ask states to make the distinctions between pre-'67 israel and israel beyond the 1967 lines. what does that mean? people will use this resolution to stir the pot for boycotts, divestment and sanctions and bring israeli soldiers and even citizens before the international -- what they did is back a u.n. security council
resolution that delegitimizes israel. >> it does not delegitimize israel. this takes issue with settlements -- >> no, it doesn't. read the resolution. >> i've read it many times. i draws attention to settlement activity, in addition to palestinian support for terror -- >> it also says, jim, there can be no change in the status of the territories beyond the 1967 lines without the palestinians agreeing to it. that's new. that's shifting the goal posts to the negotiations. and we're having a conversation about israeli settlements. i just heard a speech from secretary kerry of 72 minutes where he spent a good chunk talking about settlements. he went after the israeli government, the israeli coalition. people have to understand, right now the path of the palestinian government is comprised of hamas. they're a terror organization that openly calls for the murder of jews worldwide. >> no question -- >> i did not hear secretary kerry say that.
>> you referenced the resolution. i just want to quote from the resolution. because in addition to calling on israel to stop building settlements, it calls on palestinians to stop acts of violence on civilians. but on the issue of settlements, what nation in the world, other than israel, believes that settlements are acceptable? >> it doesn't matter -- >> it does matter. i'm asking for one nation. >> no, but the whole world gangs up against israel. it's a very old story. we have a dispute with the palestinians of that territory. >> the reason it's an old story is because international law since 1967 has declared settlements illegal. the fact is, even israeli law calls some of those illegal outposts illegal. >> it's way worse than international law. i don't know during this show that we can get into all the intricacies of it. when israel came into possession of these territories, that are
not foreign territories, this is the historic homeland of israel. we are the people from judea. >> it sounds like you're -- >> the whole world is saying that the jews are occupiers in jerusalem. so because the whole world says it, that makes it right? >> the resolution specified east jerusalem. it's not the first -- >> east jerusalem -- >> it's not the first resolution to cite jerusalem as part of the occupied territories. ronald reagan abstained from a resolution in 1987 that included jerusalem in the occupied territories. numerous u.n. resolutions have included jerusalem. this one specifies east jerusalem opposed to jerusalem as a whole. >> yeah, but jerusalem you talk about east jerusalem, that's the old city of jerusalem. that's the jewish corridor, that's the western wall.
>> i've been to jerusalem many times. hundreds of palestinians live in east jerusalem. >> we have a conflict with the palestinians. we have to resolve that conflict through negotiations. we have a territory in dispute. what this u.n. security council resolution did is it basically ceded that territory to the palestinians. it says it's yours. so let me ask you, why would the palestinians negotiate with us if the world is saying all that territory is yours? >> in fact, there's a -- i'll read you a statement from the palestinian liberation organization. the minute the israeli government agrees to cease all settlement activities and agrees to implement side agreements, the palestinian leadership -- do you accept that -- >> the minute israel says that the western wall is occupied palestinian territory, they'll agree to sit down and negotiate. you have to understand this administration has been obsessed with the issue of settlements
since day one. this is not new. kerry spoke about all these things that have happened. the israeli coalition, laws that were passed in the israeli knesset. i remember what happened in 2009. in the first months of this administration, they had a crisis with us on the issue of settlements, which was not a crisis going in. we had reached understandings with the bush administration where to build and where not to build. this has been from day one a policy of this administration. i remember when president obama was in china. president obama was in china during his first year in office and i was sitting in the israeli prime minister's office, and i heard that president obama had strongly condemned israel, strongly condemned, language that is usually used for mass murder. he had strongly condemned israel for building apartments in jerusalem, in a neighborhood in jerusalem, and everyone knows -- >> these are familiar points. for viewers that don't know the situation well. i want to put up a map of israeli occupations in the west
bank. here's a map of the occupations. the west bank on the right hand side, and then if we can show the next graph how the number of settlers in those occupied territories have grown during the netanyahu administration. let me ask you this in the simplest terms, why is that necessary? >> look, understand, we have a dispute with the palestinians -- >> i understand -- >> here's the graph i want -- >> internationally, the west bank is not disputed. outside the '67 boarders -- >> it is disputed. >> just answer the question, even from a security perspective, why do those settlements help? >> why do they help advancing peace? >> or even israeli security? >> so basically the argument says if we have jews living in their historic homeland, that is an obstacle to advancing a two-state solution. you know what is an obstacle --
it's public land, when you have people on private land, the supreme court prevents that from happening in israel. but i'll tell you what prevents peace. what prevents peace is a palestinian authority that incites and entire generation of young palestinians that hates jews, that glorifies mass murderers that says we don't want any jews to live in this territory, period. what i would like to hear is just as israel has -- >> the palestinians have talked about land swaps -- >> i want to finish this one sentence. >> on that point, because you're say manage things at once. palestinian negotiators have accepted as part of a final peace agreement, accepting some existing settlements in the west bank in exchange for land, as you know better than me. the trouble is those settlements have grown, multiplied during that time period. i want to move on -- >> if you look at the foot print, it hasn't changed much in the last eight years. and there's no question if we
have a palestinian partner who wants to make peace with us, they can. but the point that i want to finish, which is very important, we need -- whatever you ask me, i'm going to finish this point. we have a secretary of state for 72 minutes blame israel for the lack of peace. we need a palestinian leadership that will say they are willing to live with jews among them and next to a jewish state. that has not been said. that's what this conflict is about. to accept that there will be a nation state of the jewish people next to them. and the way that they would show that is by showing, you know all these people who live in this territory? they're jews, and just like israel has christians and muslims, and the only christians protected in the middle east as they're running for their lives, just as israel has muslims and non-jews, we would give -- they want that land ethnically cleansed of jews, and that's
wrong. >> you know this better than me, but i've visited israel many times, and many israelis expose the expansion of the settlements, not just because of the effects of peace, the prospects for a two-state solution, but because of the danger to israeli defense forces who are required to defend them. they don't want to send their sons and daughters to defend them. there is strong opposition to settlements along israelis. >> yes, there is. and because we're a democracy. >> sure. >> and we always have opposition. but the prime minister of israel has been elected multiple times. he leads a government that represents the views of the israeli people. as the prime minister said today, our future will be determined not by speeches in washington, not by votes at the united nations, not by conferences in paris, but by the people of israel who, by the way, want peace more than anyone else. we want it as much as the secretary of state of the united states, with all due respect to him. i don't want to see four of my
sons have to serve in the israeli army and fight and die, as so many israelis have had to make shhuge sacrifices for peac. we need a partner who is willing to end the conflict and live in peace and instead of pressuring israel and blaming israel for the lack of peace, start telling the palestinians you have to end this glorification of mass murder. you have to take a stance internally within your societies to end this incitement against israel and to teach your children that you want to live ultimately in peace. >> just a final question, you want peace, and i know you're very close to the prime minister, peace via a two-state solution. the prime minister said in march 2015 that the palestinian nation would never be formed while he's prime minister. >> that's not what he said. he said -- >> he was asked while he's prime minister, would a palestinian state never be formed? he said indeed, he said it would simply, and i'm quoting, it would be giving a base to
attacks by radical islam against israel. >> the prime minister, before his election, gave about 50 interviews. if one thing my prime minister knows how to do is how to deliver a message. >> so he would support a two-state solution? >> he would support it. and he said after your elections here, he'll say it moving forward. he supports a two-state -- a solution of two states for two peoples, where a de-militarized military state recognizes the jewish state of israel that. is the policy of the prime minister of israel. >> ambassador, thank you for coming into "the situation room." thanks for your honest answers. just ahead, the breaking news on the u.s. response to russia meddling in the u.s. election. the obama administration expected to expos people in that operation by name. and a unique perspective from a historian who met with the president-elect today. what is at the top of trump's agenda right now?
breaking tonight. the united states may be just hours away from announcing retaliation against russia for hacking. the obama administration apparently ready to name individuals linked to moscow's meddling in the u.s. election. our justice correspondent evan perez has been working his sources. this could some as soon as tomorrow? >> reporter: the administration is going to name names. the outgoing president is trying to respond to the russian meddling in the presidential election. officials are expected to announce, again, as soon as tomorrow, a series of retaliatory measures, including sanctions and diplomatic measures. they're expected to name individuals who they believe are associated with the russian disinformation operation that u.s. intelligence officials say
was partly focused on harming hillary clinton's presidential campaign. the russians say they're tired of "lies and misinformation from the obama administration." a kremlin spokeswoman says "if washington really does take new hostile steps, they will be answered. any action against russian diplomatic in the u.s., they will be answered." donald trump has said he doesn't believe the russians are behind these hacks and we expect in the next couple of days, we'll see a report from the u.s. intelligence community, the obama administration asked for this before the president leaves office. this is going to go back, as you previously reported, back to the 2008 activity by the chinese, the difference here obviously is that what the russians did this year is far different. they released some of the information, they didn't just collect it for intelligence purposes. >> no question. and what does president trump do? does he reverse president obama's steps tomorrow? thank you very much. now to the trump transition
and the president-elect's relationship with the current commander in chief. we heard the president saying that he had a "nice conversation on the phone with mr. obama today," but earlier it was tweeting a different tune. so mixed signals to say the least from trump today, sunlen. >> reporter: that's right, jim. earlier this morning, president-elect donald trump was diving deeper into his public feud with president obama, alleging over twitter that president obama had some blame for his transition not going as smooth as he would have hoped. but then donald trump emerged to say everything is fine and his transition is going smoothly. emerging from behind closed doors at his estate today in florida, president-elect donald trump making a rare appearance. >> he phoned me. we had a very nice conversation. >> reporter: to reveal he spoke with president obama on the phone today. >> we had a very general conversation.
very, very nice. >> reporter: attempting to lower the temperature after earlier in the day he escalated his public spat with the president. tweeting "doing my best to disregard the many inflammatory president o. statements and roadblocks. thought it was going to be a smooth transition. not. all this coming after president obama used his high profile speech at pearl harbor tuesday to take a veiled jab at his successor. >> even when hatred burns hottest, even when the tug of tribalism is at its most primal, we must resist the urge to turn inward. we must resist the urge to demonize those who are different. >> reporter: the escalating war of words, a sharp departure from the post election vow to work together. >> we now are going to want to do everything we can to help you
succeed. >> reporter: with promises from both sides of a peaceful transfer of power. >> i very much look forward to dealing with the president in the future, including counsel. >> reporter: but their relationship shows trains publicly, obama quipping he thinks he would have won the election if he could have won again. >> i'm confident if i had run again, i think i could have mobilized the majority of the american people. >> reporter: trump taunting, saying president obama campaigned hard and personally in the swing states and lost. the voters wanting to make america great again. and taking another swipe at the president, altering a thanks obama catch phrase to thanks, donald. trump talking in the third person, giving himself credit on the economy, tweeting the u.s. consumer confidence index for december surged nearly four points to 113 .7, the highest level in more than 13 years. thanks, donald.
making an economic announcement with claims of jobs being saved by two companies. >> i was just called by the head people at sprint, and they're going to be bringing 5,000 jobs back to the united states, and also one web, a new company, is hiring 3,000 people. so that's very exciting. >> reporter: and moments ago, the white house reacted to the phone call between president obama and president-elect donald trump today. a white house spokesman calling it positive, saying that the phone call focused on continuing a smooth and effective transition. jim? >> sunlen, thank you very much. now let's talk about president-elect trump and this breaking news on russian hacking, with the former chairman of the house intelligence committee, pete hoekstra. thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> great to be with you. thank you. >> you're a former chairman of the house intelligence committee. i'm just curious, does it trouble you that donald trump
has not accepted the intelligence community's assessment that russia was behind this election hacking, even before we get to how to retaliate or how the obama administration decides to retaliate? >> well, again, i think what you need to determine here is exactly what donald trump is saying, not accepting the intelligence community's assessment. the assessment has been in a number of different places. it's not clear exactly what they've said. but donald trump saying he does not believe that the influence of the russian hacking and the release of information, that that impacted the results of this election, that's probably -- >> with respect, congressman, donald trump has repeatedly disputed both before and after the election, that russia was behind the hacking, and he's done that since the election. in doing so, he's questioned the intelligence community, even the
intelligence community's bias and it s capability. he's expressed doubts about russia being behind the hacking. >> he's expressed doubts and i think legitimately so. the assessment of the cia in terms of what was going to happen in libya and egypt. the assessment of isis as being a jv team. so i think -- >> intelligence has made mistakes in the past, it's never perfect. but you know as well as me, you know far more than me having been chair han of the intelligence community, that the intelligence community does not often go public with their assessments unless they have evidence to back it up. >> yeah, i've been very, very concerned about exactly what
you've pointed out, is that the intelligence community has gone public with some of these assessments and hasn't really provided the backup for the detail in terms of exactly how they got there, and i think that's something that donald trump and his people are going to dig into. it's something that the senate has said they are going to dig into. and i think it's a question that the american people want to have answered. >> let me ask you this. let's separate from the russia issue specifically, and just the larger issue of the relationship between the president, the executive, and his or her intelligence agencies, because here you have a case where you have a president in effect pitted against the intelligence agencies, and not just them, i had senators graham and mccain on our air today, both republicans as you know, who said the entire senate sides with the intelligence agency. is this a healthy disagreement to have, the president in effect dismissing both the intelligence agencies and members of congress who have been briefed on that
intelligence? >> i think what donald trump is doing is donald trump is putting the intelligence community on notice, that he expects them to deliver quality information in an unbiased format so that he will be equipped to make the best decisions possible as commander in chief. sending that signal to the intelligence community is absolutely fine. >> how will he judge when it's quality? when it's quality intelligence? what will be his basis of deciding that? >> i think one of the things he'll do is go out and get information from a number of different sources -- >> outside the intelligence community? >> i think so, absolutely. one of the things that i have found since i've left the intelligence community and left congress is the number of other places that you can go and get very good information that -- and i did this when i was in congress as well when i was on the intelligence committee. i did not take everything i got from the community at face value. there are other sources of
information that i had access to that would, on occasion, enable me to go back very specifically and target some of the conclusions or some of the recommendations or some of the data that i was getting from the intelligence community. and sometimes when you push back, you found out that there wasn't a lot of substance and material between -- or behind what the intelligence community was presenting. so yes, donald trump has met with the intelligence agencies from israel. it is another source, it is another perspective of information available to the president of the united states. >> you're saying the president of the united states should take the intelligence assessments of another country's intelligence agencies over his own? >> no, i didn't say that at all. what i'm saying is that he has other places that he can get intelligence from that he can use to test the quality and the accuracy of the information that he is getting from his own intelligence community. on the intelligence committee, i can tell you, i got intelligence
frequently from other countries, it may have come through the intelligence community or it may have come through from other places that i could use to test the validity of the information that i was getting from the u.s. intelligence community. there's nothing wrong with that. that information, some of it comes in classified, some of it does not. but there's no reason why you have to accept at face value everything that you get from our intelligence community. it is why we have relationships with a lot of different agencies across the globe. >> thank you for your perspective, congressman. we appreciate you taking the time today. >> all right, great, thank you. coming up, we're learning more about the president-elect's next moves. we'll be joined by historian douglas brinkley who met with trump today. a and the war against isis.
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breaking news tonight. president-elect trump emerging from his florida home to talk about jobs, president obama, and the united nations. we'll listen again to his short remarks just a short time ago in palm beach. >> so we just had some very good news. because of what's happening and the spirit and the hope, i was just called by the head people at sprint, and they're going to
be bringing back 5,000 jobs back to the united states, that they've take on the other countries, they're bringing them back to the united states. and some other people were very much involved in that. so i want to thank them. and also one web, a new company, is going to be hiring 3,000 people. so that's very exciting. so we have a combination of sprint for 5,000 jobs. and that's coming from all over the world, and they're coming back to the united states, which is a nice change. and also one web, 3,000. that's a new company. and it was done through masa, terrific guy, and we appreciate it. >> mr. president-elect, did you speak with president obama today? >> i did, i did. he phoned me. we had a very nice conversation. >> did you bring up any of your concerns about these roadblocks? >> we had a general conversation. very, very nice. appreciated that he called.
>> mr. president, you've been critical of the u.n. lately. do you want the united states to leave the u.n., are you considering that? >> the u.n. has such tremendous potential, not living up to its potential. there's such tremendous potential. when do you see the united nations solving problems? they don't. they cause problems. if it lives up to the potential, it's a great thing. if it doesn't, it's a waste of time and money. thank you very much. >> we're joined now by presidential historian douglas brinkley. he met with president trump today. sunel serfaty and david schwaltlig here with me today. douglas, can you tell us what president-elect trump said in that meeting? >> well, he's very relaxed, very comfortable. all that picking people for his cabinet seems to have been d
dissipa dissipated, so his spirits are high. i spent my time talking about veterans issues. i think he really wants to get the health care plan for veterans under way. he talked about nasa and going to the moon and that it helps the spirit, john f. kennedy's moon shot helped the spirit of the nation. he's interested in seeing nasa do that again. and i thought it was interesting of just his getting ready for his inauguration and the fact that he wants to write the inaugural himself. he doesn't want it to be long. he would like it to be a shorter one. he doesn't want people standing out in the cold. so i used my time to talk about past american history. >> that's an interesting point, he wants to repeat the moon landings, he wants to put another man or woman on the moon during his term? >> no, no, not repeat the moon landing. it's the spirit of going to the
moon, the can-doism, and the belief of nasa as a positive. there's been the privatization of space lately. and he thinks nasa as a government agency that is going to get his attention. that it was good for us to compete. today, there are stories of china wanting to go to mars soon. so i think you may have in a trump administration, nasa being reprioritized like it was during the kennedy, johnson, and nixon years. >> so a more figuratively going to the moon. >> figuratively, meaning the moon shot, which is the metaphor for american can-doism. but his interest in space, he talked about the national park system, deferred maintenance, how sad it is that some places like independence hall or the white house itself or lincoln memorial has so much deferred payme maintenance and he wants to fix the historic sites. >> so he sat down with you, a presidential historian.
presumably, he's conscious of his place in history. i wonder what do you make of trump's tendency to lash out on twitter in response to what his only routine criticism, and i imagine would only become more common once president. does that bode well for his administration? >> this whole twitter thing, i notice netanyahu responded by twitter. it may become the new way for world leaders to communicate. i edited president's diaries, so somebody may be the twitter in chief, collecting the tweets of donald trump, because these tweets are becoming history. ten nows from now we'll be looking at those. it's almost the timeline of his thinking. but i get the feeling that he is a populist. he feels that is the way to go over the media.
he's still sore at us here at cnn, for what he thought was our unfair coverage of him, and this is a way to talk to the american people. >> let's look at one of those tweets, one that donald trump sent just this morning, suggesting his relationship with obama souring a bit. he said, doing my best to disregard the many inflammatory president o. -- obama -- statements and roadblocks. thought it was going to be a smooth transition. not. he later went on to say he had a nice phone call with president obama today. what's happening here, is this relationship deteriorating? >> well, it depends on how you look at it. they've since apparently spoken, and at least for the moment smoothed things over. but in the couple of days after election day, president obama did exactly what you would expect from a president of the united states. invited trump in, president-elect and mrs. trump, with president obama and mrs.
obama, to express the peaceful transition of power, the transition of the two administrations. but neither of these two gentleman is obligated to agree with each other on the issues they're not agreeing with each other on the issues. i don't think that means it's not a smooth transition, it just shows there's sharp disagreements between the incoming and outgoing administration. in 24 days, all these decision also be up to president-elect trump and he'll be able to say and do what he wants with his prerogatives as president of the united states. >> and some tremendous issues at stake. sunlen, the other headline from president-elect trump's comments, this bit of good economic news. trump talking about several thousand jobs, sprint, one web. was that a surprise? was there any lead-up to that? >> i thought that was most notable, jim, from this rare appearance by president-elect donald trump today. he rarely has emerged from behind closed doors. but he did today to get out this news. i think this is really the
pattern that we've seen from the president-elect. he kind of gets in these side squabbles, much over twitter many times. and that's what really dominated the coverage today, the fact that he was having a public battle with president obama. so very clear he wanted to reclaim the narrative of the day, come out and say no, i'm not just working behind closed doors, just tweeting people. i'm actually talking to companies about jobs that have been created, but he provided no more details about those deals. jim? >> thank you very much. just ahead, u.s. troops facing new dangers in the war against isis. what will that mean for president-elect trump's battle plan and his promise to defeat the terrorists?
donald trump will take charge in the u.s. war on isis in a few weeks. and many questions about his strategy even as dozens of additional u.s. troops prepare to deploy on the ground. barbara starr, we heard tough talk from trump about isis. but what do we expect in the days ahead? and particularly after inauguration? >> well you are right jim, remember during the campaign he said he had a plan to fight isis. after the inauguration, once he's the president, what will he do? will he go all in with more u.s. fire power?
or might he turn the isis fight over to somebody else? u.s.-backed fighters near raqqah preparing to attack, hoping to drive isis out. cnn could not independently verify this new video. now donald trump is inheriting an isis war that just got even more dangerous for u.s. troops since his tough campaign talk. >> we got to get rid of isis. quickly. quickly. >> the first of two hundred additional u.s. troops authorized by president obama to go into northern syria will be moving in and out of the air in the coming days a u.s. official tells cnn. but the region is so perilous american troop wills only stay days at a time.
the focus will be on isis, the pentagon is concerned that as the turks approach the town of al bob, they fight kurds instead of isis and may turn towards manbij, a hard fought victory for the u.s. backed forces. it is raqqah to the south that the u.s. wants everyone to head for. the turks want u.s. support, even air strikes. the u.s. ground forces could call those strikes in for turkish president erdogan. one u.s. official tells cnn the u.s. troops will not initiate combat but may well find themselves in a combat situation. the pentagon believes the risk is vital to stop future isis attacks in the west. >> we know that central to external operations plotting is the city of raqqah.
and that is why we need to get down there and isolate that city as fast we can go. >> reporter: there are specific buildings where they believe top isis operatives may be hiding. u.s. drones and communications intercepts are gathering intelligence on those targets, waiting to strike them when civilians are not there. the big unknown, will trump hand over the raqqah fight to russia and the syrian regime? >> if you pull completely out you watch focus drift away from defeating isis and recapturing raqqah and eliminating the terrorist threat that emanates from that city. >> reporter: so if you turn the raqqah fight, the isis fight in syria over to the russians there is a lot of concern at the pentagon they will not have the same focus about the danger there is and the threat that the u.s. believes isis inside raqqah poses to the united states. jim. >> barbara starr, thank you. just ahead a day after the death of carrie fisher. disturbing news about her mother
the fifties and sixties known for films like singing in the rain. but in later years younger fans knew her at fisher's mother. we'll brick you more information as soon as we get it. also tonight a shocking murder that's remained a music for two decades. a child beauty queen killed. her family under suspicion. now her father is speaking out. here is clip from tonight's cnn special report. >> what's going on there, maum? >> it is one of the greatest unsolved crimes in history. >> we have a kidnapping. there is a ransom note here. >> a little girl vanishes from home christmas night. >> it was just like you got hit in the stomach. where's my child? >> reporter: hours later she's found strangled to death. >> i couldn't do anything but scream. >> keep your baby close to you.
>> reporter: surreal images of the pageant star transfixed the mother. >> are you stage mother? >> probably. what's wrong with that? >> no charges have ever been filed. nobody ever convicted. tonight the theories, secrets and bomb shells. jean casarez joins me now. you spent a lot of time with jonbenet's father john ramsey. >> it's completely changed his life. and this is the anniversary week right now. and i think there is something about anniversary time. and this is the 20th anniversary. and he spoke at length. he relived it with me. he believes that this is a dna
case. and he says he spends every day fielding calls himself and tips because that unknown male dna, he wants to find out who it is. we did confirm, i did confirm with the boulder district attorney that in 2017 they are going to be doing brand new dna testing of a more sophisticated level than they have done before. however the district attorney told me he doesn't believe this is just a dna case. he believes it would have to fit with all the other evidence. and you will see tonight they have a lot of evidence still in the case but they still can't solve. >> it why do you think people are still so fascinated with the story after two decades now? >> one, it is a mystery. and two as you listen tonight you will hear things about the evidence you never heard before. i didn't realize that the grand jury unanimously voted to indict
john ramsey and his wife. and the da did not bring charges believing he could not proof it beyond a reasonable doubt. >> incredible. jean casarezs. that cnn special report, tonight at 9:00 eastern here on cnn. i'm jim sciutto. erin burnett "outfront" with kate baldwin starts right now. "outfront" next. donald trump's about face just hours after accusing president obama of sabotaging the transition, trump says things are going very smoothly. which is it? plus the rockettes pressure to perform at donald trump's inauguration. will they leave trump out in the cold? and one of the hottest gifts on amazon. why is it now at the center of a mysterious murder? let's go "outfront." ♪ good evening everyone.